Blyth - Part Two

Digging for bait

Here we are back in the northern coastal town of Blyth just a short hop north of Newcastle. The photographs in this post were all taken around one of the old docks, partly still in use and partly falling down.

There’s a story to tell here but I’m not sure what the moral is. The shot of the terraced houses below had me excited at the taking stage. I really felt I was on to something. The backyards, the old 1950s Airstream trailer, the multitude of wires coming from the telegraph poles, the man hanging out his washing. What man hanging out his washing, you ask in unison.

He’s there in the bottom right-hand corner but you have to look hard to see him. When I was standing there looking through the OM2’s viewfinder and scanning the frame through the 50mm Zuiko macro he was all I could see. “This is John Bulmer-esque,” I told myself. I was getting a bit carried away to be honest.

Then I developed the film and scanned the neg in question and went, “Eh?” What the hell? Where’s that great photograph I was supposed to have taken? Funny thing the mind, eh? Tiredness? Delusion? Overly influenced by the atmosphere? Who knows - but I suspect the last of those.

Had I been switched on - I’m definitely feeling a bit rusty - I’d have walked up to the far end of those backyards and shot them in the opposite direction where I would have had the subject of the first pic in this post as a backdrop.

Having finished photographing the backyards, I swung round to see a man digging for who-knows-what (bait?) in the low-tide mud with the ship - and the sun - behind him. It was a natural shot and I just had to make sure to catch the guy in a decent pose with a light background surrounding his body. It’s a photograph I much prefer to the backyards image.

High hopes at the taking stage but, ultimately, disappointment

The other shots below are just following the "photograph whatever catches your eye" process. The skyline on the first pic below is interesting - a mixed bag of the compulsory, bloody awful wind turbine, crane, boats, buildings, lampposts, etc. The second pic attracted me for much the same reason - including bloody awful wind turbine - but it added a lot of Nazca Desert type lines in the foreground.

Finally, here's a bench offering a view that you certainly won't find on any tourist brochures for the area. I'm not sure if it would have been there during the yard's glory days when coal wagons were rolling back and forth - looks a bit too modern for that - but there's still a strange fascination for me with this sort of subject. And that's it for Blyth really. I'd love to go back and spend another couple of days there just nosing around as I'm sure there's loads of stuff just waiting to be discovered. 

On a technical note, these pics were all shot on Delta 100 and developed in DD-X. The first two at the top were on the 50mm and the others on a 24mm Zuiko. As already mentioned earlier, I'm finding it very difficult to get a sharp 35mm scan from my old Epson. However, I've just discovered that VueScan have now got a driver for my not-quite-so-ancient Plustek 35mm scanner and a quick test has shown that it's quite a bit better than the Epson so, hopefully, the quality of the pictures will improve in the coming weeks.

What would certainly improve the quality would be scanning darkroom prints but it'll be a couple of months before that happens. Still, it's a good goal for the New Year. Not so much a resolution as a promise to myself.


  1. I love that last one Bruce, and the first has an epic post-industrial feel to it - good results - keep them coming. The darkroom will get there and it will be worth the wait.

  2. Great pictures Bruce. The driver comment was interesting. I need to get a new computer for scanning and editing but it seems all the new PC's are Windows 11 now. Normally I wait a few iterations but hopefully it plays well with my old printers and scanner.
    Anyway, just wanted to wish you and your readers a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022.


  3. Thanks, Dave. I'm a bit late for Christmas wishes but have a great New Year.